Reference: Chinese Health Qigong Association jsqg.sport.org.cn
Ba Duan Jin: Eight-section Qigong Exercises
Foreign Language Press
The Health Qi Gong Ba Duan Jin is popular in the mass for its being easiness to learn and obvious health care effect. In order to further standardize it and better cater to the requirements of routine demonstration, I sum up the following items including its whole style, main points of each movement, common mistakes and corrections based on my own experience of teaching and directing for a long time for the reference of the practicers.
The whole style of the Health Qi Gong Ba Duan Jin
About the movements
The Health Qi Gong Ba Duan Jin is one kind of Daoyin skills characterized as the movements of the limbs of which can strengthen the tendons and bones, regulate the visceral organs, dredge the meridians and modulate the circulation of Qi and blood and achieve the goal of health-keeping. Its main feature is upright posture and round movements. It seems that all the movements are level in the horizon direction and line-like in the perpendicular direction with the gentle and slow rhythm. But it combines the square with the round as well as the relaxation and agility just like in each routine. For example, in the routine of posing as an archer shooting both left-and-right-handed, raise the hands in front of the chest with left hand out and both palms facing inward and separately stretch out the hand just like shooting the archer and then downcast half-moon by the side. In this routine, the movement starts from the horizontal level position and runs half round. It can embody the strength of the stretch in the course of archer-shooting and beauty of relaxation and gentleness in the course of retraction. The above-mentioned characteristics is naturally accessible at the stage of proficiency of which includes relaxation and quietness, differentiation of excess and deficiency, hardness and softness. The beginners should grasp the main points of each routine and seek for the correct of the movements at first and then for its fluency.
About the breath
Reverse abdominal breath is used in the Health Qi Gong Ba Duan Jin combined with anus-lifting breath. The practicer can do as the following: lift the anus and adduct the abdomen and raise the diaphragmatic muscle in the course of inhalation and vice versa in exhalation abiding by the rule of inhalation in the course of lifting, opening and storing as well as exhalation in the course of lowering, closing and dispensing which combined with the movements. In the alternative turn of relaxation and agility, motion and quietness breath-holding way is applied for the main movements in each routine. For example, in the routine of holding the hands high with palms up to regulate the internal organs, to inhale while lifting the hands and keep breath-holding while keeping the posture of stretch and exhale while lowering the arms. The beginner should use the natural breath and needn’t keep the breath deep, regular, prolong and the combination of the breath and the movements on purpose to avoid the occurrence of dizziness, nausea, palpitation and short breath etc. Let the nature do its course and do whatever you are able to do in the combination of the movements with the breath and get the state of self-regulation step by step.
About the mind
The mind action is to contemplate the process of the movement rather than to think about one single thing. It is different at the different stage. The mind acts on the main points and style of the routine with the correct and exact movements at the beginning. It should act on the characteristics and combination of the routine with the breath in the advanced stage with gradual improvement of movement quality with the relaxation of the muscles. While in the last stage, the mind should act on the harmonious state with the breath. The practicer should rid of all kinds of nervous state at that time under the condition of relaxation, quietness and happiness with the natural and skilled routines.
The main points, common mistakes and corrections of the routines
The key points: put the arms perpendicular by the sides with palms backward and turn palms forward by the sides of the angle of 450 and hold the hands in a semicircle in front of the abdomen with upright backbone and neck, relaxed chest and waist and contracted abdomen and hip as sitting in the high stool.
Common mistakes: to shrug shoulders lifting the arms by the sides; lift the elbow while holding the hands in a semicircle with the thumbs bending upwards and the other four fingers obliquely directing at the ground and with the waist falling down, legs kneeling and splayfoot.
Corrections: to pull down the shoulders and elbows while lifting the arms by the side and relax the wrist and the fingers while holding the hands in a semicircle with the fingertips face-to-face and the thumbs level. The ready position plays an important role in adjourning the different sections and recurrently occurs in the break of the routines. It can be taken as the basic training way in the exercise. Better exercise of it can improve the demonstration level and health effect.
Routine 1 holding the hands high with palms up to regulate the internal organs
Key points: to lift the hands and turn the palms upward in the chest; expand the chest and the body; raise the head and look at the hands with slightly pulling back the chin and craning up the head with a pause, drag perpendicularly the backbone with the strength applied to the palms, relax the waist and lower the buttocks while setting down the palms, hold the shoulders and elbows down, relax the wrists and fingers and keep the upper body straight and centered.
Common mistakes: Head not held enough when lifting the hands. The movement stops midway when keeping the palms stretch. The shoulders and arms are rigid when lowering the palms.
Corrections: Raise the head and look at the hands while lifting the hands and spreading the chest and upper body with raising the chin to support the action firstly and then pulling it to aid the elevation of the hands and keeping the posture of stretch for two seconds. Strength should be focused at the lower part of the palms. Hold the shoulders and elbows down at first while putting down the palms and thereafter let the arms naturally down with the body upright and wrists and fingers relaxed.
Routine 2 posing as an archer shooting both left-and-right-handed
Key points: Hold the shoulders and elbows down while raising the hands in front of the chest with the palms below the shoulders. Strength starts from the backbone while shooting archer. Expand the chest and stretch the shoulders with the wrists and fingers upright. Turn the head enough and pull one hand with the thumb and the other four fingers close each other and bending them tightly with the arm level with the chest. Push the other hand with the wrist and fingers upright and palm hollow. Keep above-mentioned position for two seconds just like an archer shooting the eagles.
Common mistakes: hunch the shoulders and fall down the waist with the biased body weight; kneel while standing with the horse stance and the foot scrapes the ground and shakes while pulling back it with clumsy gait.
Corrections: Let the neck and the upper body upright and the shoulders down and raise the head enough while shooting the arrow with the gait transformation clear. Kneel joint is not beyond the toe-tips and stand apart leveling while pulling and pushing the hands. The height of the horse stance can be adjusted according to different condition and enforcement should be avoided to deform the movements. The strength of the limbs should be developed step by step in the course of the exercise.
Routine 3 Holding one arm aloft to regulate the functions of the spleen and stomach
Key points: The strength should be applied at the base of the palm while lifting and pressing one arm together with expanding the chest and body, loosening and stretching the waist.
Common mistakes: Fingers pointing in the wrong direction while lifting and pressing the arms; elbows not bent enough; dragging strength not enough for two arms; and the upper body not straight enough.
Corrections: Make the hands level and the tip of fingers straight while lifting and pressing them; and the elbows slightly bent and stretched in opposite directions.
Routine 4 Looking backwards to prevent sickness and strain
Key points: Keep the head and the back erect and turn the arms outward enough and expand the shoulders and the chest, turn the head but not the body.
Common mistakes: The upper body over-stretch backward while turning outward the arms and not enough turning of the head and arms.
Corrections: Pull in the chin while turning outward the arms; keep the upper body straight while turning backward; Look at the angle of 45 of obliquely post-downward direction while turning the head; The ulnaris side of the arm turn outward to the greatest extent and keep the position for two seconds.
Routine 5 Swinging the head and lowering the body to relieve the stress
Key points: Tuck in the buttocks and hips and keep the upper body straight when assuming the horse stance; When swinging the upper body, the neck and buttocks should be stretched away from each other slowly and gently and in a round and flowing manner.
Common mistakes: Neck stiff and buttocks not turned enough when swinging the upper body; Upper body tilted too much leading it to sway from side to side.
Corrections: Relax the muscles of the neck to the utmost while turning the head with the speed of the head slower than the buttocks; Pull in the chest and look upward while turning backward the head; Pull in the abdomen while turning forward the buttocks and fall down the waist and then keep the body straight while turning backward. It is difficult to turn the buttocks while standing the horse stance. The practicer can do the movements step by step at first and do it together at last.
Routine 6 Moving the hands down the backs and legs and touching the feet to strengthen the kidneys
Key points: Turn the wrists to the utmost while moving the hands under the armpits; Relax the backbone gradually and lower the shoulder enough while bending over and rubbing the feet; The hands forwardly protrude and stretch the backbone to pull up the upper body while standing up.
Common mistakes: Bending the knees and lowering the head while lowering the hands. Raising the upper body before lifting the arms.
Corrections: Straight the knees and raise the head while lowering the hands and the extent is adjustable by oneself; Lift the arms first and raise the upper body with the arms near the ears.
Routine 7 Thrusting the fists and making the eyes glare to enhance the strength
Key points: Keep the body straight while squatting down in the horse stance and adjust the height of it by oneself; Make the eyes glare at the clenched fist when it is thrust out; Try to grasp the floor with the toes, twist the waist enough and apply strength along the shoulder to the fist and clench fingers forcefully.
Common mistakes: The upper body tilts forward and the shoulder and elbow are raised when thrusting the fist out; when withdrawing the fist, too little power is applied to clench the fingers and twist the wrist.
Corrections: Thrust the fist from near the ribs; Make the head erect and the upper body straight; relax the shoulders and make the elbow slightly bent to send force to the front of the fist. When withdrawing the fist, first spread the fingers, twist the wrist fully and then clench the fingers with force.
Routine 8 Raising and lowering the heels to cure diseases
Key points: When raising the heels, try to grasp the floor with the toes and apply maximum strength to the raising. Keep the thighs together. Keep the neck craned to push up with the head. Be careful to maintain the balance while pushing. Clench the teeth when tapping the heels on the floor and keep the shoulders and arms down and the whole body relaxed.
Common mistakes: Raising the shoulders and failing to maintain the balance while raising the heels. Feet tapping are too fast with too much strength while falling down.
Corrections: Try to grasp the floor with the toes, keeping the thighs together. Pull in the buttocks and contract the abdomen with the shoulders down and the head erect. Slowly lower the feet halfway at first and slightly tap the floor while tapping the floor with the heels.
Key points: Adopt a calm approach with the whole body relaxed and the breath natural. Air and energy should be dispatched to the Dantian point.
Common mistakes: Close the routine in a rush or take a walk after completion. Not spend enough time regulating the mind and thoughts.
Corrections: Keep body in a calm and composed state. Before starting the routine, it is useful to do such cooling-down exercises as rubbing the palms and backs of the hands, massaging the face and relaxing the limbs.
How to do better in the exercise of the Health Qi Gong Ba Duan Jin Chinese Health Qigong Association jsqg.sport.org.cn
Practicers should grasp the basic points of which mean to relax all the joints in the body, dredge the meridians and strengthen the power of the lower limbs, of the Health Qi Gong Ba Duan Jin including natural relaxation, agility and correctness, combined exercise with rest, being step by step,. After that they can start the stage of applying the mind that means to guide Qi by way of mind and move the body by way of Qi. Or, the more haste, the less speed. Now let’s talk about the four kinds of methods of applying the mind in the exercise of the Health Qi Gong Ba Duan Jin.
The basic meaning of the Health Qi Gong Ba Duan Jin is the mind of points and lines. The transformation of the interior and exterior rotation of points and lines set up the basic movements of the Health Qi Gong Ba Duan Jin. Many points constitutes the parabola (rotating curve) in the course of the exercise and all kinds of running lines of movements and the latter can transform into the circle. And then the circle can gradually turn into the points and lines and rotating curve and the circle itself. The process can go on and on. That is the same for the construction of the body. The acupoints of Jian Yu and Da Zhui are united into one horizontal line. Bai Hui, Ren Zhong, median Dan Tian and Hui Yin are united into the frontal central perpendicular line. Wei Nv, Min Men, Da Zhui, Yu Zhen and Bai Hui are united into the posterior median perpendicular line. The frontal and posterior perpendicular lines of which are the Ren and Du meridian are united into the arc line. The intersection of the horizontal and perpendicular lines constitutes the auto-crossed balancing line. The arc lines can be divided into the four lines including three horizontal lines that are the shoulder line that is in charge of the balance of the body, waist line that is in charge of the rotation of the body and hip line that is in charge of the movement of advancing and retreating and one perpendicular line that is in charge of the exertion of the body. Wherever the position is, the crossed lines should be kept the state of balance.
In the course of the exercise, the joints of fingers, palm, arm, hip, waist and neck are in the movements of the rotating and twisting all the time. The basic styles of rotation are intortion and extortion and other movements are changed out of that.
Firstly, the rotation of fingers and palms and arms occurs in each routines of Ba Duan Jin of which embodies the health action by way of the rotating movement. For example, in the routine 7 of the Health Qi Gong Ba Duan Jin that is thrusting the fists and making the eyes glare to enhance the strength there are three movements of rotating and winding of which are the intortion of left arm and left fist turning into palm( the first rotating movement) and the extortion of the left arm( the second rotating movement) and the mild flection of the elbow joint and the left rotating and winding of the left fist(the third rotating movement) and turning into grasping the fist with palm upward and posterior. In addition, in the routine 3 of the Health Qi Gong Ba Duan Jin that is holding one arm aloft to regulate the function of the spleen and stomach, the first movement is to slowly straighten the knees and stand straight and raise the left hand and turn the left arm outward(the first rotation) past the face and meanwhile turn the arm inward(the second rotation) to a position above the head on the left side with the elbow slightly bent, let the strength get to the base of the palm that faces upward with the fingers pointing to the right, in the meantime raise the right hand a little and then turn the arm inward (the third rotation) and press it down to the side of the right hip with the elbow slightly bent strength applied at the base of the palm that faces downward and fingers pointing forward, hold this position looking straight ahead. The second movement is to move the body weight slowly down and bend the knees slightly with the waist relaxed and hips down, meanwhile bend and turn the left elbow outward(the fourth rotation) and move the left hand down past the face to a position in front of the abdomen with the palm up and turn the right arm outward(the fifth rotation) with the palm up looking straight ahead.
Secondly, it is about the rotation of the waist, hip, neck and nape. For example, in the movement of routine 5 of the Health Qi Gong Ba Duan Jin that is swinging the head and lowering the body to relieve the stress, the third section of movement is as follows: raise the body weight slightly, move it to the right and tilt the upper body to the right and forward and fix the gaze on the right foot. The fourth section of movement is as follows: shift the body weight to the left and move the upper body forward and then turn to the left with looking at the right foot. The practicer should shake the head and turn the neck along with swinging the waist and relaxing the hips with the rotation of eyes and coccygeal end in the same time in the third and fourth section of movement. There is rotating in the part of waist, hip, body, coccygeal end, head and eyes in this routine.
Thirdly, it is about the meaning of open and close of which is the key point of guiding movements. Close is certain to ensue after open is done and vice versa. Generally, extending is open and contracting is close. During the course of exercise, the practicer should put mind on the relaxation of all the joints and the mind itself while doing the action of extending, on the contrary, put mind on the contraction of all the body and the mind itself. The inner Qi originates from the waist eyes and congregates in the back through the backbone and gets to the tip of fingers through the upper and lower arms in the course of open and vice versa in the course of close. It is reasonable for the practicers to imagine that there is one flexible rope communicated from the tip of fingers to the backbone and stretch it all the time in the exercise for more effective open and close.
The exercise of the Health Qi Gong is the combination of movements and breath under the direction of the mind that is to closely combine the mind and breath with movements and practise the mind, Qi and body in the same time. During the course of exercise, muscles, bones and joints and internal organs should be taken into action together with the outer movements of body and limbs to make the spirit and energy smooth and all the body integrated and keep the body healthy in the long run.
At last, it is about the spitting that is exhalation and swallowing that is inhalation that should be embodied in the open and close of the movements. Natural breath is mainly applied for the beginners. Reverse abdominal breath should be gradually adopted with the improvement of ability and consciously combined the inhalation and exhalation with the open and close of movements. The mind of spitting should be used in the course of open and exhalation with protruding lower abdomen. The mind of swallowing should be used in the course of close and inhalation with curved lower abdomen. The abdomen is by turns protruded and curved along with the open and close of the movement. The practicer should try his best to harmoniously combine the breath with the movement by the repeated exercise and make the breath deep, fine, regular and long and make the breath and movement concordant at last.
Taking all above-mentioned into consideration, although there are distinctions among four kinds of meanings, there is inseparable correlation among them in the meantime. The practicer should gradually grasp them rather than read without understanding or even stop groping with a little understanding.
Four kinds of meaning in the exercise of Ba Duan Jin Chinese Health Qigong Association
1.How to decide the amount of the exercise of the Health Qi Gong Ba Duan Jin?
Generally speaking, the practicer should do at least five times of the exercise for one week, one or two times for each day with two minutes break. 40 minutes or so is reasonable for each time along with the tuning-up and trimming time. One or two times of the exercise for fifteen to thirty minutes in each day is ok when the time or the health is not permitted. In addition, you can choose some suitable routines from the set to do the exercise.
The sustainability for the exercise load is different for different practicers due to the sex, age, constitution etc. Generally speaking, the feeling of the body can be used to decide the exercise load of which is reasonable if the practicer is happy with normal pulse, blood pressure, appetite and sleeping and comfortable in the next day. The exercise load should be adjusted if the practicer is tired with abnormal pulse, appetite and bad sleep after the exercise.
2.How to do the breath in the exercise of the Health Qi Gong Ba Duan Jin?
Reverse abdominal breath is generally used together with lifting-anus breath in the Health Qi Gong Ba Duan Jin. It is done as the follows: To lift the anus and contract the abdomen, raise the diaphragm while inhaling; To relax the anus and abdomen and lower the diaphragm while exhaling. The breath should be combined with the guiding as inhaling while lifting, opening and storing and exhaling while lowering, closing and starting. Hold one’s breath slightly at the turn of the change of the routine.
Taking the difference of lung capacity and breathing frequency into consideration, the breath should be timely adjusted when it is not smooth as the amplitude of the actions is different for different practicers.
3.How to regulate the mind of the exercise of the Health Qi Gong Ba Duan Jin?
Mind regulation is to regulate the thinking activity of which is also called regulating the heart. The mind regulation of the Health Qi Gong Ba Duan Jin is not to mind on one thing but to mind the process of the routine including the specification, main points, key parts and breath. Concretely speaking, the practicer should mind on the specification and main points of the routine in the beginning stage and on the style as well as the coordination of the routine with the breath in the advanced stage. The actions will attain the state of automation with natural breath and calm mind during the course of the proficiency and improvement of the skills. At that time the practicer can mind on the style, main points and the keys of each action to make the action, breath and mind integrated.
4.What can the exercise of the Health Qi Gong Ba Duan Jin do for enhancing the health of the middle and aged people?
Regular exercise of the Health Qi Gong Ba Duan Jin can decrease the percentage of the body and blood fat, keep blood pressure and heart rate normal, enhance the function of the heart and lung, reduce the tension of sympathetic nerve, increase the vagal tone and be helpful to reduce the danger of the onset of cardiocerebrovascular diseases in the long run. In the meantime, it can raise the kinetic trait, ameliorate the anxiety and mental state, and improve the life quality of the middle and aged people. In addition, it can strengthen the function of eliminating the free radicals, increase the level of sex hormone, slow the senility of intelligence and physiological age for the middle and aged people. Therefore, it is one effective way to keep health and prolong life for the middle and aged people.
5.What can the Health Qi Gong Ba Duan Jin do for the figure of the middle and aged people?
Some researches show that there is drastic change in the body weight, weight index, circumference index, the skin thick of which is mainly the change of the body composition including the decrease of subcutaneous fatty tissue and increase of lean body weight after the exercise of the Health Qi Gong Ba Duan Jin for six months. It is one kind of aerobic exercise with medium intensity. The regular exercise of the Health Qi Gong Ba Duan Jin can improve the body composition and mold the healthy and exquisite figure for the middle and aged people in the long run.
6.Why can the Health Qi Gong Ba Duan Jin improve the function of the respiratory system for the middle and aged people?
Conclusion can be taken from the whole routines of the Health Qi Gong Ba Duan Jin. Respiratory extent and depth should be continuously increased to improve the longitudinal motion extent of the diaphragmatic muscle to exercise the respiratory muscle in the routine one, holding the hands high with palms up to regulate the internal organs, routine two, posing as an archer shooting both left-and-handed, routine three, holding one arm aloft to regulate the functions of the spleen and stomach. Diaphragmatic muscle is the most important respiratory muscle and the effective exercise of it can increase the volume of the thoracic cavity to improve the lung capacity.
7.Can the exercise of the Health Qi Gong Ba Duan Jin ameliorate the function of the cardiovascular system for the middle and aged people?
The dynamic remote monitoring results of the heart rate for some practicers show that the heart rate decreased including the maximal and average heart rate in the course of the exercise and timely heart rate after the exercise to some extent after the exercise for six months. That is to say, the exercise can take effect on the function of the heart for the middle and aged people. What’s more, the exercise load of the Health Qi Gong Ba Duan Jin is mild and moderate extent and is fit for the middle and aged people. So it is one effective way to improve the function of them.
8.Is the Health Qi Gong Ba Duan Jin effective on improving the flexibility and agility of the middle and aged people?
Yes, it is. In the routine six, moving the hands down the back and legs and touching the feet to strengthen the kidneys, the practicer should bend the body forward to the utmost. The long-term exercise can improve the agility of the body trunk. In fact, it is helpful to the health keeping of other parts and joints except that. For example, routine four, which is looking backwards to prevent sickness and strain, can raise the agility of the neck. Routine one, which is holding the hands high with palms up to regulate the internal organs, and routine three, which is holding one arm aloft to regulate the spleen and stomach, can increase the agility of the shoulder joints and hand joints. Routine five, which is swinging the head and lowering the body to relieve the stress, can increase the agility of the hip and ankle joints.
9.Is the exercise of the Health Qi Gong Ba Duan Jin effective on the balance and coordination of the middle and aged people?
Yes, it is. The practicer should control the body weight in adducting and abducting the feet and keep in the horse stance for a long time in the routine of posing as an archer shooting both left-and–right-handed, swinging the hand and lowering the body to relieve the stress. It can exercise the muscles of the legs and ankle joints and strengthen muscles balancing the body, which is helpful to stimulate the equilibrium nerve center and improve the balancing capacity of the practicer.
10.Why can the exercise of the Health Qi Gong Ba Duan Jin boost the life quality of the middle and aged people?
The Health Qi Gong Ba Duan Jin features as being gentle, slow, smooth and consistent, rhythmic combination of relaxation with strength, and of dynamism and inertia, combining body with mind to cultivate vital energy. The long-term exercise can balance the yin and yang, dredge the meridians, relax the adhesion, lubricate the joints, promote the blood flow, strengthen the tendons and bones, enhance the body constitution. All these effect can be tested by the modern life science.
The Health Qi Gong Ba Duan Jin is typical aerobic exercise with medium intensity. It can consume the subcutaneous spare fat and change the body composite and increase the strength of muscles for the practicers to do the exercise for one hour in each day. It can exercise the strength of the limbs and the arms and fingers in some routines standing in a horse stance or grasping and holding with the fingers.
In addition, it is requested that the practicer should combine the mind with body to cultivate the vital energy in the whole sets, which can obviously boost the extent of mind concentration of the practicer and effectively coordinate the nerve system with the actions, the reactive ability with the performance skills. It can keep the perfect mental state and elegant disposition in the middle and aged people. The practicer should be calm, optimistic, single-minded and big-hearted in the course of the exercise to self regulate and enhance the mind health. Therefore it can boost the life quality of the middle and aged people.
Chinese Health Qigong Association jsqg.sport.org.cn
Ba Duan Jin
Foreign Language Press
“Learning” refers to the process of learning knowledge and skills, and “practice” refers to the process of increasing proficiency. In other words, applying learning to practice or integrating practice with learning is the essence for improvement, with each other perfect complement and reciprocal, which needs unremitting efforts. During the learning and practice of the Health Qigong Ba Duan Jin, it is involving with principles and methods of practicing as well as the fundamental characteristics, movement essentials and the requirements for practicing. This article intends to focus on several issues that is needed to pay attention to during learning and practicing the Health Qigong Ba Duan Jin.
Learning and practicing the Health Qigong Ba Duan Jin should take the “appearance training” as the key points
The standing postural Ba Duan Jin belongs to one of the ancient Chinese Daoyin. During its process of evolution, regardless of which period and what kind of genre, it has never separated from the exercise feature that focus on physical training. By means of limbs movement, it achieves the purpose of keeping fit through strengthening tendons and bone, enhancing the body immunity and organs, clearing the meridians and adjusting the blood circulation and breathing.
There are three stages in practicing the Health Qigong Ba Duan Jin. The first stage is the learning and mastering movement period. At first, it is required to practice from the basic body posture, basic hand posture and basic steps. During the learning and practicing, it is necessary to grasp the typical actions and movements for repeated practice. As the old saying goes, “regardless of similarity or not, you should achieve at least 30 percent of resemblance.” That is to say, regardless of the technical level, the depth of skills, the specific hands posture and footsteps, as long as you start practicing, you should exert every effort to make it standardized, which is very important for beginners. During learning and practicing the Health Qigong Ba Duan Jin, it is necessary to master three primary elements including point, line and posture. In terms of point, it refers to the starting and ending point of actions. In terms of line, it refers to the operative approach of the movements. In terms of posture, it refers to both the dynamic and static state. Whether for any requirement, it is significant to standardize your actions and movements. Generally speaking, it is required upper body straight, lower extremity stable, footsteps & hand postures clear, precise and in place. In other words, it is advised that as the old saying goes, “at first standardized and then to be diverse and flexible.” The second stage is to master actions and movements in proficiency period. During this stage, it is necessary to pay attention to the conversion of the body gravity, master a good balance and deal with the convergence between actions. In addition, it is required to rely on spinal column to lead to the movements of limbs in order to make the soft, gentle, flexible, coherent, and round movements. In order to achieve this, it is necessary to practice repeatedly, correctly and improve movements constantly so that each action can be accurate in place and with ease. The third stage is the consolidation and improvement of movements period. It is required that based on the previous practice to strive to the integration of dynamic and static, masculine and feminine, rigid and flexible. Furthermore, it is necessary to relax both internal mentality and external body, with serene mind and concentrating on practicing. Apart from that, it is significant to pay attention to the combination of tense with relax, firm with gentle, moderately elastic, and use mind concentration rather than physical strength. At the same time, it is advised to experience the connotations between “three adjustments” in order to achieve the flexible and freely movements, appropriate breathing and gradually transferred into the unity of “three adjustments.”
During learning and practicing the Health Qigong Ba Duan Jin, it is required to attach great importance letting the spinal column leading the movement of limbs
The spine has the functions of supporting the body and protecting the internal organs, and at the same time, it is also the hub of human motion, taking charge of the physical movements. According to the clinical statistics, the spine-related diseases have become the greatest potential risk for human health at the 21st century. Therefore, the spine is called the body’s “second lifeline.” The Health Qigong Ba Duan Jin takes full account the influences that the spine exerts in the human health during its working out specific movements, thus it emphasizes the training for the spine. Each action’s starting posture all stem from the Jiaji of the spine (empty place between two scapular ridges) and its exercise rules are all involved with the spine as the axis to extend to the whole body. In addition, the Du meridian has close relation with the spine and connects with the whole body meridians, while the Yu acupoints of the bladder of the both sides of spine directly connect with the internal organs, therefore, it is conspicuous to see the vital significance for training spine. To some extent, in the practice of Ba Duan Jin, those who master the rules of spine exercise grasp the essence of Ba Duan Jin of Health Qigong.
In order to facilitate practitioners to master the pivotal role of the spine, the specific illustrations are as follows. In the “preparatory posture”, it is required that both the preparatory posture as well as all the rising and fall movements should be in vertical spine, with the entire spine spiraling up and down throughout on the pull-out length. In the “Routine 1 Holding the Hands High with Palms Up to Regulate the Internal Organs”, it is required that both palms hold the spine and pull upward and downward, using vital energy to reach to the Lao Gong acupoints until the Jiaji. In the “Routine 2 Posing as an Archer Shooting Both Left-and-Right-Handed, it is required that two wrists cross- put on the chest and relax the Jiaji, with the strength of left-and-right shooting posture reaching Jiaji. In the “Routine 3 Holding One Arm Aloft to Regulate the Functions of the Spleen and Stomach, it is required that both palms pull in composite direction and make the spine stretch, using vital energy to reach to the Lao Gong acupoints and the Jiaji in center. In the “Routine 4 Looking Backwards to Prevent Sickness and Strain”, it is required that two palms press downward and hold the spine upright, stretching the shoulders to look back and using vital energy to reach to Jiaji. In the “Routine 5 Swinging the Head and Lowering the Body to Relieve Stress”, it is required that using forward stance to hold the spine, stretch the spinal column by side, and around the body to rotate the Weique. In the “Routine 6 Moving the Hands down the Back and Legs and Touching the Feet to Strengthen the Kidneys”, it is required to stretch and relax the spine. In the “Routine 7 Thrusting the Fists and Making the Eyes Glare to Enhance Strength ”,it is required to using forward stances and crouching to hold the spine, with left-and-right fists twisting. In the “Routine 8 Raising and Lowering the Heels to Cure Diseases”, it is required that stretch the heels and slightly vibrate the lower spine. In the closing posture, it is required to relax the spine and make closure of the whole exercise. With the vital energy, it means using the idea rather than strength, otherwise, it is easy to lead to stiff and blood stasis. Therefore, the vital energy should be interpreted as the integration for verve, breathing and spirit.
The practice of preparatory posture cannot be ignored in practicing of the Health Qigong Ba Duan Jin
It is universally known for the preparatory posture of the Ba Duan Jin, which is called “Tai Chi Pile” in Tai Chi Boxing and is called “San Yuan posture” or “Holding Ball posture” in Health Qigong. Extremely rich in connotations, it is the primary preference when practicing, so that it is called “primary pile in practicing Health Qigong.” There are three connotations for the preparatory posture. The first one is as the basic body posture. The second one is as the basic movement. The third one is as the basic skills. With regard to the basic body posture, it refers to the static state of the body. This is the most representative posture, which requires straight spine, low shoulders and elbows, pulling back the abdomen and with comfortable ease mien. With regard to the basic movements, it refers to the most fundamental movements and with rules to follow. The preparatory posture appears repeatedly in the connecting of actions, playing an importantly coherent role. Therefore, if practicing this preparatory posture well, it is conductive to improve the overall exercise. With regard to the basic skills, it refers to the prerequisite quality and capacity for practicing Health Qigong. All the above-mentioned issues can be resolved and reflected by the standing pile exercise of the preparatory posture, which contributes considerably to the overall and comprehensive improvement of the practicing Health Qigong.
The above-mentioned “three basics” established the status of preparatory posture in the practicing of Ba Duan Jin. This shows that preparatory posture not only serves to prepare for practicing but also has the highly close relation with the whole set of exercise. Therefore, it is necessary to attach great importance and strengthen the efforts for practicing preparatory posture. There are three steps needed to pay attention during practicing preparatory posture.
The first step is “When Heaven is about to place a great responsibility on a great man, it always first frustrates his spirit and will, exhausts his muscles and bones, exposes him to starvation and poverty.” Therefore, it is necessary to overcome the muscle soreness, joint numbness as a result of standing pile and dismantle the exercise tension. This stage is called “change energy” in the Qigong terms. Normally it takes about three weeks. The first week is relatively tortured and the second week you will feel gradually relaxed, and the third week you will feel that there is strength in arm and the degree of comfort is improved.
The second step is based on the previous practice, it is naturally to pursue the relax and serene state of both spirit and body. With regard to relax and serene, the relax is the prerequisite, which is required to relax steadily from head to toe, from internal to external and spread from peripheral areas to pores. With regard to the serene state, it refers to remove the personal considerations and absent-mindedness. As the old saying goes, “it is important to pull back the absent-mindedness and curb the wanderings.” It is necessary to achieve the state of calm tranquility and concentrating on practicing. There are different effects of the relax and serene state, which cannot be attained in the short term and need to practice more than several years. Even some people practicing for a long time still fail to resolve the problems. It can be seen that if you do not seriously practice and exert assiduous efforts, you cannot grasp the essence of the Health Qigong.
The third step is with the deepened stage of relax and serene state, breathing begins to slow and the vital energy starts to rise and gradually enter into the period o f convalesce. Under this occasion, it is necessary to maintain the ease and natural state rather than pursue deliberately and mechanically. After the long-time practice, you will feel energetic and robust. It should be noted that it is negative to close your eyes during practicing With regard to the exercise intensity, it is advised to be moderated and suitable. If there happens to palpitation, shortness of breath, dizziness, uncomfortable, tremble and other abnormal phenomenon, it is significant to immediately stop practice and carry out adjustment to avoid deleterious effects.
Chinese Health Qigong Association jsqg.sport.org.cn
Ba Duan Jin
Foreign Language Press